The Key to IoT is ROI

Randy Asset Tracking, Beacons, IoT

IoT security gets a lot of attention these days, but according to a recent study commissioned by the software company Canonical, the biggest challenges for companies in IoT are proving ROI and providing clear use cases.

The study, which surveyed over 360 IoT professionals, showed that over half (53%) believe that “quantifying ROI and providing a clear use case” is their most immediate IoT challenge. Surprisingly, addressing IoT security and privacy issues came in second.

When asked what they believed was needed in order to encourage IoT adoption among enterprises, the top priorities were identified as “quantifying business benefits” and “improved understanding of benefits.”

Fortunately for those of us in the real-time location systems (RTLS) and indoor positioning space, the ROI for this area of industrial IoT is well established.

Why is this the case? It’s simply because most companies have already been using one of the various iterations of indoor location technologies (RFID, ultra-wide band, Wi-Fi, etc.) for a number of years (even before it was called IoT) and the ROI and benefits they gain from deploying these IoT technologies in an industrial environment is known, quantified and readily understood.

And, as we’re showing with our own Bluetooth-based RTLS system, with its lower costs of deployment, higher accuracy and easy integration with existing management and control systems, the ROI and benefits are even clearer.

For example, in a manufacturing environment, knowing where specific parts bins are located is extremely important, since any delay or shutdown of the line caused by misplaced or lost parts translates into serious money for the company. An auto industry study found that one minute of stopped production costs an average of $22,000, with some respondents citing a figure as high as $50,000 per minute.

With such high costs at stake, keeping production equipment and the line operating smoothly is critical to a factory’s bottom line. So, the ROI of knowing where all your parts are located at any given time becomes a fairly easy calculation.

Let’s look at another industry that’s hitting our radar with regards to asset tracking: the cannabis industry. In states like Colorado, where recreational cannabis in legal, accurately tracking plants from seed-to-sale is part of the stringent compliance and reporting requirements for a cultivator.

Government regulators, with very little notice, have the right to inspect any particular plant for quality control and to verify other attributes such as weight, health, stage of growth, etc. If the operator is not able to quickly and accurately locate the exact plant for inspection, or is failing to update the government database with location data for each plant in their grow-op, the cultivator is liable to incur significant fines or, for repeat offenders, even lose their license. Again, the ROI of accurately tracking these assets is very easy to determine.

So, what’s the ROI for IoT? When it comes to Bluetooth-based location technologies, you don’t need a calculator to figure it out.